Published: 13 Feb 2023

From 2017 to 2022, President University (Presuniv) has managed to maintain its standing as a university with the largest number of undergraduate (S1) foreign students in Indonesia. That means for five consecutive years, Presuniv has also become the university most in demand by foreign students to continue their studies at the undergraduate level compared to various other universities throughout Indonesia.

As an illustration, referring to the 2017, https://izinbelajar.kemendikbud.go.id/ website data released by the Institutional Director (Direktur Kelembagaan) at Minister of Education and Culture (Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan), as many as 6,9% of all foreign undergraduate students studying in Indonesia chose Presuniv as their campus of choice. In the following year, 2018, the percentage increased again to 7,2%. Then, for 2019, the percentage still rises to 8,3%.

For 2020, referring to the data on the website, it was noted that there were no foreign students registering for undergraduate studies in Indonesia. This is because the Covid-19 pandemic that ravaged Indonesia and the rest of the world temporarily halted cross-border movement.

A year later, namely in 2021, thousands of foreign students are again registering for undergraduate studies in Indonesia. During 2021, according to data from Institutional Director, there were 3.896 foreign students studying in Indonesia. Of this total, 5,3% of them chose to continue their studies at Presuniv.

Then for 2022, Institutional Director noted that out of all foreign students studying at various public and private universities in Indonesia, 8,8% of them chose to study at Presuniv. This percentage is even the highest achievement for Presuniv when compared to the percentages of previous years.


Experience of Two Foreign Students

What makes many foreign students interested in continuing their undergraduate studies at Presuniv? Van Vung Pham, or as he is usually called Arthur, is a member of the first batch of Vietnamese students at Presuniv. He came to the Presuniv campus in the Jababeka industrial estate, Cikarang, Bekasi, in 2002, after spending a year studying at Hanoi University, Vietnam. He said, "I was interested in studying at Presuniv because the lectures were in English. I believe that if I can speak English, my career will definitely improve in the future."

When he first attended lectures at the Information Technology Study Program, Arthur admitted that he could not speak English at all. Even so, he tried hard to understand the lecture material. "Fortunately, the lecturers want to slow down the tempo of the lecture so that every student understands the material he was deliver," he said. On the other hand, Arthur also compensated by improving his ability to speak English. In this way, he was finally able to speak English. Now Arthur is Assistant Professor at Sam Houston State University, United States of America.


Arthur and Ronald

Source: Doc. Arthur and Ronald.


Ronald Do Thanh Tung, a student from Vietnam who studied at the Information Technology Study Program, also experienced the same phenomenon. Ronald was also interested in coming to Presuniv because of the English lecture system. He said, "When it comes to knowledge in computing, I can already do programming. So, what I need most is the ability to speak English."

Following lectures in English is a challenge for Ronald, as well as foreign students from various other countries. Even for some Indonesian students. While studying at Presuniv, Ronald really worked hard to be able to speak English. Every day, he memorizes new vocabulary in English. The result? "After one semester, I studied English independently, and suddenly I understood all the material presented by the lecturer. At first, I felt strange. However, in the end, I realized that apparently I already understood English," said Ronald.

After graduating from Presuniv, Ronald had a career as a professional. Now, he already has his own business in Vietnam.


Like Learning to Swim

According to Rector of Presuniv Prof. Dr. Chairy, the ability to speak English is the most basic ability that must be mastered by every student who wants to study at Presuniv. "This is because, since the beginning, Presuniv has proclaimed itself as an international university," said Chairy.


Prof. Dr. Chairy

Source: Doc. PR.


Even so, when they joined Presuniv, there were foreign and Indonesian students who were still not fluent in English. Said Chairy, "Learning English is just like learning to swim. The fastest way for anyone who wants to be able to swim is not to learn swimming theory in class, but to jump straight into the pool. That is the method we apply to improve students ability to speak English.”

So, since the first semester, all lecture activities and any activities at Presuniv directly use English. Lecture material in class, when doing assignments, delivering presentation material, group discussions, up to the exams, compiling a thesis, and during the thesis trial, all use English. Likewise, non-academic activities, such as competitions, club activities, and student organizations, all use English.

The English language skills of all students are also getting honed because in the first year they are all required to live in a dormitory. While in the dormitory, there will be many activities that make Indonesian and foreign students interact each other. Under these conditions, the language they use for dialogue is English. "So, because the environment forces all students to communicate in English, their skills are honed even more," said Chairy.


Exposure to the International Environment

The presence of foreign students not only increases the ability to speak English or other foreign languages, but also creates an international environment. "This kind of environment is important to shape the character of students to become more open, tolerant of various differences, willing to know and understand each other, and willing to give and take. This kind of character is very important for anyone who wants to become a global citizen," said Chairy.


Some of foreigns student at President University.

Source: Doc. PR.


The ability to interact and be exposed to the international environment is also very important for students who want to have a career as a professional or continue their education at a higher level. "Students will also find it easier to have careers in multinational companies, even abroad, because since college they are used to the international environment," said Handa S. Abidin, S.H., LL.M., Ph.D., Vice Rector for Academic Affairs.

The experience of being exposed to an international environment has also been proven to be able to improve the performance of graduates when they continue their studies for master's or doctoral degrees at leading universities in the world. For example, M. Rizki Nugraha Dharma Nagara, or as he is familiarly called Deris Nagara. The graduate of the International Relations Study Program, Presuniv, had attended a student exchange program and at the same time had an internship at the Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen (HAN) in Arnhem, Netherlands. Deris received a scholarship to continue his studies at School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University, United States of America, after graduating from Presuniv and working for a while. After only a few months of studying there, thanks to his experience and association in an international environment, Deris was elected President of the Student Executive Board at SIPA, Columbia University.

Currently, apart from making English a basic skill, Presuniv also encourages all of its students to master one of the other foreign languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, or other foreign languages. For this reason, Presuniv has prepared several foreign-language trainings and collaborated with various parties. For example, Presuniv opened a Korean language class in collaboration with Mokpo National University (MNU), South Korea. Two lecturers were brought in directly from MNU to teach Korean.

Other than English, mastering other foreign languages is critical for Presuniv's goal of becoming an international university. Also, at the same time, prepare students, graduates, and all of the academic community to be ready to become global citizens.